Hello Ocho’s self titled debut released Jan 1, 2013
"In the beginning, Hello Ocho's primary motivation as a band was to make people dance. It was a three-piece back then, made up of singer/guitarist and self-proclaimed "computer babysitter" Chris Yonker, bass player Clinton Callahan, and drummer John Gregg. The songs they wrote were fun, buoyant, and somewhat exotic in their approach to traditional indie pop, but things never went much deeper than that, at least not on the surface. But anyone who was in the audience for any of those early shows, watching the band's chemistry percolate amid layers of driving rhythms and electronic textures, knew that there was more to the group's vision than arty indie-rock party anthems. Soon, Hello Ocho had figured it out as well. "We started digging a little deeper with our songs, and reached a point where we wanted more from them," Yonker says. "We wanted to write songs that we wanted to listen to so we started holding ourselves to a higher standard."
After scrapping the entire cache of songs it had written during its first few years, Yonker and Co. began piecing together a headier body of work. Although much of the group's songwriting style remained the same, the mysterious energy it had been channeling all along began to gel with subtle but experimental hippie/pop aesthetic, propelled by the broader depth of kraut rock repetition.
This change has culminated in a self-titled album that's imbued with a fun-loving sense of humor that remains tucked inside such songs as "Chili Cheese Connie," "MC Hammermill Greatest Hits," and even in the album's most evocative number, "Party On A Raincloud." The music is clearly evolving, and Hello Ocho's newer songs are all about drawing out a moment, although the presentation can be a bit harebrained - don't let the fart joke on the album's Bandcamp cover disuade you from pressing play.
Over the last three years the group's lineup has fluctuated, expanding and settling as a five-piece, sharing most of its complement with fellow locals Faun and A Pan Flute. It's rare to catch a show with Callahan playing bass these days, but Yonker says that he may come back into the fold this year. In the meantime, a parade of new faces has shuffled in and out of the fold to fill his shoes.
For now, Hello Ocho's self-titled debut is officially an Internet release, but plans for pressing it up on vinyl are in the works. Over the months leading up to the album's NYE premiere, however, the group "leaked" handmade physical copies of it on CD at its shows. "We wanted people at our shows - a smaller group of people - to get a chance to listen to it and let us know what they thought," Yonker says. "All of the CD covers are different, and we wanted it to be something a little more special. We sold them when we were on tour, but we gave them to people if they didn't have money. We wanted people to hear it more than anything."
It's all a testament to how far Hello Ocho has come since its humble beginnings as the life of the party."